Haikyu!! focuses on two first-year high school volleyball players named Shoyo Hinata and Kageyama Tobio. The previous year they had competed against each other in a junior high tournament, and Shoyo decides to become Kageyama’s rival. The two boys come from very different volleyball backgrounds: while Kageyama was part of Kitagawa Daiichi’s team and was a self-centered setter, Shoyo spent most of junior high practicing being a spiker by himself because his school didn’t have a team until his last year. On the first day of high school, Shoyo and Kageyama are surprised to see that they’re both at Karasuno High School.
Episode 25 focuses on the various members of the Karasuno team returning to school and wrestling with their loss at the Inter-High in various ways. However, it seems that Shoyo and Kageyama are taking this setback the hardest.
On top of this, the third-years, but especially Daichi, wrestle with whether or not they should retire from the club now like they’re supposed to, or stick it out with the team in order to compete in the spring tournament. In the end, Daichi, Suga, and Asahi decide that they want to stay. One of the school counselors brings this to Takeda’s attention, and Takeda is asked to talk to the third-years. While Takeda talks to the third-years, he tells them that it’s ultimately their decision whether they stay with the club or retire in order to focus on their studies before they graduate.
After Shoyo and Kageyama are able to work their frustrations out, they’re happy to learn that the third-years have decided to stay and that the team’s next goal is to compete in the spring tournament. This happiness is increased when Ukai agrees to continue coaching the team.
This episode had a very strong focus on the players dealing with their disappointment of losing at the Inter-High and trying to readjust to being off the court and back to the daily grind of school. Overall, I thought this aspect of the episode was handled very well.
With the emphasis on whether or not the third-years were returning, as well as having several mentions of the spring tournament coming up and having Ukai continuing to coach the team, a perfect foundation has been laid for the Haikyu!! anime to have a second season at some point. While the series could end on this note, ending it this way leaves an “unfinished” feel to it. Honestly, I’d be shocked if this series didn’t get a second season.
When I first started watching Haikyu!! 25 weeks ago, I never would have imagined enjoying a sports anime about boys’ volleyball as much as I’ve come to enjoy this series. While Haikyu!! may employ a lot of tropes that are associated with shonen series, the characters are engaging enough and interesting enough that the viewer doesn’t necessarily notice the tropes being used.
Haikyu!! is a series that I would definitely want to watch again at some point, and would also add to my anime home video collection at such a time as it’s released on home video in North America. I’m also rooting for Haikyu!! to get another season, because I’d definitely watch it.
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